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AHCA Grows Strong in Tough Times

Despite the constraints of a devastating global pandemic, AHCA continues to enjoy a strong membership base that continues to increase in numbers.

“Aggressive efforts by our Membership Chair Jeffrey Dochen to recruit new members, attract corporate members and retain our existing members have kept us strong,” said AHCA President Lee Cooke. “We are excited about our growth in many areas of the association during some really tough economic times.”

AHCA had 80 members when Cooke initially signed on as chair of the Membership Committee in 2018. AHCA now has more than 630 active members, 234 of which are new this year. Revenue from those annual memberships has grown accordingly, from $14,500 in 2017-18 to an estimated $83,000 in 2020-21.

Cooke and Dochen have fought hard to retain membership levels during the pandemic, both sending out personal letters to people whose memberships were about to expire.

Revitalized member-oriented events have also generated interest in AHCA membership. New Spotlight Events, first live and then virtual with the onset of COVID-19, have given members an inside look at iconic locations and a peek at some of the mysteries to be found in the Austin History Center archives. The annual Eberly Luncheon in February attracted than 300 people, including many who became members. Events like these have helped AHCA maintain a strong 70 percent membership retention rate.

The energized association doesn’t plan on slowing down next year, with goals to reignite the AHCA Corporate Membership program and implement a new data management system that will allow greater outreach and provide even more benefits to members.

Dochen said that the organization is setting an aggressive goal of 30 new members a month in the coming fiscal year. AHCA is depending on help from members and board members to reach that goal, augmenting the efforts of the Membership Committee. T

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“Our success will come from exciting Spotlight Events, both virtual and, as the fog of the Coronavirus begins to lift, in person,” Dochen said. “It is the energy we build and the treasures we reveal from within the Austin History Center archive that attract new members.”

AHCA Membership Chair Jeffrey Dochen

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